For a few minutes this morning I wanna demonstrate the power of local elections.
On Tuesday a dangerous vote took place in the North Carolina where the state legislature passed House Bill 370. And it’s doing something we see happening all over the country. In North Carolina, at least 7 different elected sheriffs have said that they will not cooperate with ICE – and that when a person is arrested or charged with a crime, mind you, one they have not yet been convicted of, they won’t turn them over to ICE.
So conservatives in North Carolina voted, in House Bill 370, to force local sheriffs to do so, or be removed from office. But yesterday, just one day after the bill passed the Republican controlled House in North Carolina, the Democratic Governor there, Roy Cooper, vetoed it.
At their root, conservatives aren’t conservative. I don’t even quite know what that means – because unless it means that they exist to protect white power, I don’t know what they are conserving.
For the entire Obama administration, they called themselves “fiscal conservatives.” They created a fraudulent group called the Tea Party and said they demanded that Obama reduce the national deficit. For all 8 years of his administration they said nothing was more important than paying down the national debt and stopping excessive spending. And even the Obama administration fell for it, cutting spending all over the place, and paying the debt down to $600 billion from over $1 trillion when he took office. He cut the deficit by $400 billion.
And in 2.5 years, guess what Trump has done, he slashed taxes for billionaires and corporations, increased spending on endless wars and wrote huge checks to mega-farmers – and now, in 2.5 years, guess where the national debt is again? Right back over $1 trillion. It was the single largest increase in national debt in the first 2 years of any presidency.
And suddenly, conservatives no longer care about debt. It was all a ruse.
Since I was a little boy, I was told that all Republicans cared about was morality and integrity and THIS was why they voted to impeach Bill Clinton because he lied and had an affair and they love strong character and integrity and family values so much that they just couldn’t take it.
Then, for 8 years, with Obama, we had a man in office with a spotless marriage. They were Christians. And they checked off all of the conservative boxes of clean language, and neat grooming, and no previous divorces, with two cute smart kids, but conservatives didn’t really care about character, or morality, or decency, or integrity, because they voted Donald Trump into office.
He is literally the most publicly unethical, immoral, man of low character elected to office in our lifetime. He has told over 12,000 documented lies since he was elected. Daily he attacks and demeans people. He’s married two immigrants but then loathes immigrants of color – even though the Bible – which conservatives claim to love – has thousands of verses on caring for immigrants. He’s been married and divorced and married and divorced and married again. He openly admitted on tape to sexually assaulting women….
I’ll stop there. You know who he is. But what he really is – is proof that the conservative brand is a fraud.
And what we see them doing now is something that goes against 150 years of conservative history where they said they believed in local control of government. Let me break it down.
From the Civil War until the past few months, conservatives have claimed that nothing was more important to them than being able to control their own local governments without outside interference.
But on Tuesday in North Carolina, their state house voted through a bill, House Bill 370, that does the exact opposite. See, in North Carolina, and in most states across the country, counties have two forms of law enforcement – the city police department and the country sheriff’s department. And the city police department normally has a police chief appointed by the Mayor and the sheriff’s office normally has a lead sheriff that is actually elected by the people.
Well, we’re starting to finally understand that if we want to change policing, we have to start caring about electing that sheriff, and across North Carolina, at least 7 sheriffs have been elected who said that they simply will not be cooperating with ICE – that’s the federal Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – these 7 sheriffs have announced that when undocumented immigrants are arrested, or given tickets, that they aren’t going to be turning those people over to ICE.
And they shouldn’t. First off, an arrest is not a conviction, a ticket is not a conviction. But secondly, families don’t have to be destroyed and torn apart and deported simply over an arrest. It’s not right.
But House Bill 370, from the Republicans controlling the State Legislature, stated that sheriffs MUST turn people over to ICE or they will be removed from office.
What we’re seeing in North Carolina is really a war of values and the critical importance of local elections. In all of the larger cities, Democrats voted in local sheriffs that actually have a heart, so those sheriffs aren’t cooperating with ICE, but since the Republicans control the legislature they tried to overrule those local sheriffs, but since the Governor is a Democrat, he overruled those Republicans.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is why voting matters. Every race matters. The sheriffs race matters. The state legislature races matter. And clearly, who we vote for as Governor matters.